Wetaskiwin Mayor ‘remains committed’ despite Premier’s plastic bag comments

Wetaskiwin Mayor ‘remains committed’ despite Premier’s plastic bag comments

City council: ‘health of the environment is everyone’s responsibility’

by Jessica Jones

For the Pipestone Flyer

Wetaskiwin city council stresses the importance of banning single use plastics, following comments made last week from Premier Jason Kenney on Nova Scotia’s plastic bag ban legislation.

At at the 20th annual Global Business Forum in Banff, Kenney was reported saying that Nova Scotia’s new legislation to ban single-use plastic bags is a “meaningless, symbolic gesture.” The Premier was also quoted saying that the UPC doesn’t want any more “red tape,” noting that the decision is “up to consumers to be more responsible.”

This didn’t sit quite right with City of Wetaskiwin Mayor Tyler Gandam who says the environment is “everyone’s responsibility.”

“While Wetaskiwin city council appreciates Premier Kenney’s focus on Alberta’s economic prosperity and cutting red tape,” he explained, “The fact remains that the health of the environment is everyone’s responsibility.”

Wetaskiwin city council passed the Plastic Checkout Bag Bylaw at their regular meeting about a year ago and the plastic bag ban is now in effect in the city as of July 9, 2019. This means retail establishments are prohibited from selling or distributing single-use plastic at checkouts thinner than 2.0 mils thick. The ban also applies to locations where goods are offered for sale, which include grocery stores, retail stores, farmers’ markets, fast food and or restaurants.

“Single use plastics, in any form, are a huge hazard to the health of our environment, and small steps taken to reduce the use and availability of single use plastics add up to a large impact,” Gandam said.

Despite Kenney’s comments, Gandam says that city council remains committed to upholding the single use plastic bag ban.

“Wetaskwin city council … applauds local residents and businesses for their many sustainable efforts,” he said.

“Sustainable community practices remains a priority for Wetaskwin city council, and has been included in council’s 2018-2022 Strategic Plan.”

According to Wetaskiwin city hall, the city is the second community in Alberta to ban single-use plastic bags — The Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo was the first, having its legislation in place since 2010.

Stu.salkeld@pipestoneflyer.ca